Let’s be honest, Self looks more like a Bible salesman than a college basketball coach. His kind-looking face and easy demeanor is the last thing you think of when you think about the cut-throat world of college basketball recruiting. Yet he continues to bring in great classes. It was his recruits that took Illinois to the national championship game in 2005 under Bruce Weber and it was Self himself who won a national title at Kansas in 2008.
Self has a stellar recruiting reputation and not just because he lands some of the best recruits in the country, like Josh Selby or Brandon Rush. He also makes a great impression on recruits and when he wants someone, he personally makes sure to speak with that recruit as much as possible. He even landed the Morris twins over John Calipari because the Kentucky coach had ignored the players. Said Marcus Morris: “Us and Calipari never really talked. As soon as I opened my recruitment, when I was allowed to talk to coach Self and the staff, we made sure we talked. Even after I committed, we made sure we talked almost every day. That went a long way for me and my brother.”